Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Freezin' Rice and a recommendation for the BBQ (I promise Spring is coming, it just has to be!)

Last night I made a great stir fry. Broccoli and Chicken Stir Fried Rice. I had just gotten a great deal on boneless chicken breasts so I'm feelin' foot loose and fancy free with the stuff (which is usually more expensive than Caviar...). If I wanted to make this recipe more budget friendly I would have used a lean cut of beef or pork. You could also use Shrimp which sometimes are a better price than boneless chicken breasts!

I used a big bag of frozen broccoli which worked out quite well in this dish. But the best part was simply pulling out the frozen cooked rice. By using rice out of the freezer, this becomes a one dish meal! So when you cook rice, cook extra, freeze it in 1 cup serving sizes and you'll save extra time later. Also, freezing the rice dries it out a bit, making it perfect for adding to dishes and really great for making fried rice.

Oh, and the Hoisin and Lime Marinated Chicken mentioned in the Broccoli and Chicken Stir Fried Rice recipe above (which I actually did as directed in the recipe)... well I bookmarked that recipe for next summer for the bbq. You can bring home your chicken and add it to the marinate before freezing. Then on a nice day when you are ready to bbq, you just pull it out of the freezer, let it defrost while it soaks up the marinate and you are good to go. I'm starting a list of recipes for this summers CJ and Granny Tan's 2nd Annual Most Excellent Cottage Getaway and this one is definitely on it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fish tip - keeping it together in a chowder

Last night I made a salmon chowder recipe that called for roasting the salmon first. I did as I was told which is really quite rare. But guess what?! The salmon did not fall apart when I added it to the soup. I had really nice chunks of salmon! I diced the salmon to the size I wanted for the soup. Then I roasted it in a hot oven at about 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Doing this binded the salmon so that it kept it's shape when added to the soup. And roasting the salmon at a high heat really gave it a nice flavour. I would do this again when adding salmon or any fish to soup or pasta dishes.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tip - Liven up Mayo

Here's a quick tip to liven up your sandwich or dress up a dish. Flavour up your mayo. I add pesto to mine for a "pesto aioli". Sounds fancy, doesn't it? (I like it for dipping my baked fries in, deadly!) You can serve a dollop with fish, chicken or meat as an accent sauce. Veggies would love a dip too. This takes the food to a more gourmet level and is deadly easy. Just remember to only use a little, you want to up the flavour not ruin a healthy meal!

With your mayo mix any of the following.

Italian Twist:
basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary

fresh or dried chilies, chili powder, cayenne powder, Tabasco


Crushed peppercorns, a dribble of white wine and a dab of Dijon mustard

More Italian:
Sun dried tomato and garlic

More varieties:
Any fresh herbs
or Lemon

You are only limited by your imagination.

Cheap Wine! Just because we are in a recession doesn't mean you have to stay dry!

So let's talk cheap. In these times of economic uncertainty it seems one retailer who isn't feeling the pinch is the liquor store. Funny that. But I can confirm that I've found some great cheap wines for under $10. Those Americans reading this... stop laughing. I'm heading down there at the end of the month and I intend to indulge in some fine California wines. I hope you really appreciate how very lucky you are to have affordable access to such a fine selection of wines. It's a beautiful thing. Probably lucky I don't live there.... I'd be a lush.

On to the wine list! Recently I saw a recommendation in the local "Metro" newspaper for some Argentinian wine. Now I enjoy South African wine which I got exposed to when I traveled to Sweden. If the Europeans are drinking wines from non-traditional regions then they must be good given the fact that these folks have access to well priced French and Italian wines. So that has given me a pretty open mind regarding the origin of a bottle of wine. These did not disappoint. And they were each under $9! Give these a try the next time you are looking for wine.
Trapiche Astica Sauvigon Semillon - not a subtle quiet white. This one will wake up your taste buds!
Trapiche Astica Merlot Malbec - holy lip smackin' batman! I'm prefer whites for sipping and typically only drink reds when pairing with food. Well this one was so good I enjoyed a glass for no particular reason other than it was just tasty. What a pleasant surprise.

I picked up a few others around the $10 mark and have been pleased with each one. Give these a try:
Painted Turtle Merlot - Canadian - appr $12. They have 2 whites too which I intend to try soon
Funky Llama Chardonnay - Argentina - appr $10. Anyone who knows me knows I don't like Chardonnay as a rule. But really it's just California Chardonnay I don't like. Before you proponents of California wines started sending me hate mail, I adore every other grape varietal that comes out of California. See above for proof. So I think I'm allowed to not like one type. You California Chardonnay lovers, mail away. I can't help it. Back to this particular Chardonnay. It was good, it was cheap, I'd buy it again, enough said.

Try wines from the non-traditional regions. They are often affordable and more than often, tasty. I'll keep trying cheap wines and sharing my findings. The things I do for you people... sigh.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Chicken Fajita Pasta

Here is a super quick and easy recipe that is kid friendly!

Chicken Fajita Pasta
Serves 4


  • 1/2 pack of spaghetti (appr. 250g)
  • 1 lb of boneless chicken, breast, thighs or even ground (ground beef works too)
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • 2/3 cup of light sour cream
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

that's it, yup, really


  1. Boil the pasta
  2. In a saute pan, brown the meat and cook through
  3. Drain the pasta and put it back in the pot
  4. Toss in the salsa, sour cream and meat
  5. Mix well
  6. Serve with cheese sprinkled on top

yup, that easy and quite tasty! Use whole wheat pasta to up the fiber content. Add in more veggies if you're feeling frisky.